Legal Services Regulatory Authority
The Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) is responsible for the regulation of legal practitioners (solicitors and barristers) in Ireland. It was established in 2016 under the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015. The LSRA is independent in the performance of its functions.
The LSRA has a statutory responsibility to regulate the services of legal practitioners and to ensure high standards. It investigates complaints against barristers, solicitors and solicitor’s firms.
Members of the LSRA
The LSRA has 11 members, the majority of which are lay members (not solicitors or barristers), including its Chairperson. The lay members are nominated for appointment by:
- The Citizens Information Board
- The Higher Education Authority (An tÚdarás um Ard-Oideachas)
- Competition and Consumer Protection Commission
- Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
- Institute of Legal Costs Accountants
- Consumers' Association of Ireland
The non-lay members are nominated for appointment by:
- The Bar Council
- The Legal Aid Board
- The Honorable Society of King’s Inns
- The Law Society (2 members)
You can visit lsra.ie to see the current members of the LSRA.
The functions of the LSRA
The LSRA has a wide variety of functions, including:
- Establishing and administering a system of inspection of legal practitioners
- Receiving and investigating complaints (see ‘Making a complaint’ below) and sanctioning legal practitioners if misconduct is found
- Maintaining a public Roll of Practising Barristers - it is a criminal offence for a practising barrister not to have his or her name entered on the Roll
- Promoting public awareness and disseminating information about legal services including their cost
- Keeping the Minister of Justice informed of developments relating to the provision of legal services and making recommendations on policies
- Undertaking research on the provision of legal services which may promote an improvement in standards of legal services and public awareness
- Making recommendations about the education and training of legal
practitioners and the structure of the legal profession
Making a complaint
Complaints about solicitors and barristers are dealt with by the LSRA. The LSRA complaint handling system replaces the previous complaints handling service provided by the Law Society and the Bar Council of Ireland.
You can make a complaint to the LSRA if you have received a poor legal service, been charged too much or you believe the legal professional is guilty of professional misconduct.
Professional misconduct is unethical or unprofessional behaviour that falls short of the ethical or professional standards accepted by a particular profession. Examples include dishonesty, taking advantage of your age or inexperience, acting against your instructions or using insulting, racist or sexist language.
When the complaint is received the LSRA will notify the legal practitioner (and the Law Society of Ireland if appropriate). You can read about how to make a complaint and what you can expect on the LSRA website.